UniteGPS – Legislators in New Jersey recently drafted two comprehensive bills to better support districts in confronting the school bus driver shortage. Behind these legislations are Senator Robert W. Singer as well as Assemblymen Sean T. Kean and Ned Thomas from the 30th Legislative District, intending to help communities fill routes, transport more students, and secure smoother operations.
“The bus driver scarcity is not going away on its own,” Senator Singer said in a statement. “These bills will allow more drivers to qualify to transport students while maintaining the current high standards and safety. With these changes, school districts will be able to fill more routes, move more students, and more efficiently meet expectations.”
Realizing the hefty time commitment behind receiving a CDL, the first bill (S-2153) enables school districts to directly administer the exam and services in-house. Now that new CDL training regulations are in effect, officials hope to speed up the process for applicants seeking the “S” endorsement.
For the trio, granting school districts permission to authorize the CDL examination should expedite the entire application which generally takes up to eight weeks. While not superseding federal training protocols, easier access to training for drivers will ultimately result in more buses out on the road for the upcoming school year.
Similarly, the other bill (S-2152) permits drivers without a CDL license to transport students in Type S school buses, but only up to nine passengers. Assemblyman Thomson supports this specific initiative based on how school districts often transport smaller groups of students to extracurricular activities or events. In other words, these smaller trips don’t require a full-passenger bus.
In turn, drivers without a CDL are going to be able to perform these runs, but in smaller vehicles like vans or SUVs. Moreover, this second bill ensures that qualified school bus drivers are putting their CDL training to proper use out on the road.